Top things to do

Let's Travel - - FRONT PAGE - Words and im­ages by Shane Boocock

1 Ferry Ride across the Hau­raki Gulf:

The best van­tage point to see Auck­land is from the top deck of a boat in the Hau­raki Gulf, and one of the best ways to ex­pe­ri­ence it is on board a Wai­heke Is­land ferry. There are three ferry com­pa­nies offering daily ser­vices to Wai­heke Is­land. Fullers Fer­ries has up to 20 de­par­tures ev­ery week­day with a few less on week­ends – check on­line for spe­cial ‘$10 hot seat deals’. Com­bine your ferry travel to Wai­heke with a 90-minute scenic tour of the is­land, plus un­lim­ited bus travel for the rest of the day. It’s a great way to make the most of a day trip to Wai­heke, offering you flex­i­ble and cost ef­fec­tive trans­port, while in­tro­duc­ing you to the is­land’s best sights. Ex­plore Wai­heke of­fers 17 daily ferry de­par­tures Mon-Fri, 13 sail­ings on Satur­day and 12 sail­ings on Sun­day. Sealink Car & Pas­sen­ger Ferry of­fers 13 daily car and pas­sen­ger ferry ser­vices from Half Moon Bay, al­low­ing you to pack the car and un­pack at your ac­com­mo­da­tion. Sealink also of­fer daily car ferry sail­ings from Wyn­yard Quar­ter in the city. Check in on­line for ‘Su­per Saver’ de­par­tures, which can save $88 off a reg­u­lar re­turn fare. All the ferry com­pa­nies have li­censed on­board cafés.

2 Take a Vine­yard Tast­ing Tour:

No mat­ter how long you stay on the is­land you’ll need trans­port once you dis­em­bark from your ferry. My ad­vice is if you just want to nosey around a few vine­yards then book The Vine­yard Hop­per which is for peo­ple who like to plan their own ad­ven­ture at their own pace. It’s a unique and cost ef­fec­tive hop-on, hop-off bus ser­vice, where you can visit some or all of the par­tic­i­pat­ing vine­yards and stay for as long or as lit­tle as you like, with­out hav­ing to worry about driv­ing.

Wai­heke Is­land is home to 30 vine­yards, many boast­ing award win­ning wines. The Hop­per’s timetable has been care­fully de­signed so that you can visit eight key lo­ca­tions through six con­ve­nient stops. If you pre­fer to join a tour then most com­pa­nies will meet and greet you as you step off the ferry. Com­pa­nies such as Wai­heke Is­land Wine Tours are a small, and highly per­sonal, Qual­mark ac­cred­ited tour op­er­a­tor, who ac­com­mo­date no more than nine peo­ple per ve­hi­cle. The com­pany in­cludes all the is­land’s top vine­yards in­clud­ing Te Motu, Ob­sid­ian, Juras­sic Ridge, Kennedy Point, Pea­cock Sky, Ca­ble Bay and Mud­brick. In­cluded in the tour is travel be­tween vine­yards, tast­ing fees of at least 14 se­ri­ously good wines, chilled bottled wa­ter and Wai­heke Is­land of Wine Guides, plenty of time for a leisurely lunch, and re­turn trans­fers to the ferry (or your ac­com­mo­da­tion). For pri­vate tours, Man O’ War Bay and Pas­sage Rock vine­yards can also be ar­ranged with the op­tion of lunch at Poderi Crisci. Not in­cluded are ferry fares, lunch or wines taken with lunch.

3 Is­land Trans­porta­tion:

Be­sides all the reg­u­lar buses that meet ev­ery ferry there are nu­mer­ous trans­port op­tions for the vis­i­tor step­ping on to Wai­heke Is­land. If you want to go it alone then the best thing to do is hire a car, peo­ple mover or the ever-pop­u­lar scooter from Rent Me Wai­heke at Ma­ti­a­tia Wharf. If you pre­fer ped­alling your­self around the is­land, Wai­heke Bike Hire is in the car park by the ferry ter­mi­nal and in a mat­ter of min­utes you can be on your way. An­other op­tion, de­pend­ing on your re­quire­ments, is to talk to Is­land Shut­tles, as they can ar­range group shut­tle trans­fers for your per­sonal, cor­po­rate or so­cial group any­where on Wai­heke, in­clud­ing sight­see­ing and vine­yard tours, as well as per­son­alised trans­fers in a range of ve­hi­cles from 25-seat coaches to 12 and nine-seat mini coach trans­port. Their bus and van com­bi­na­tions al­low you to trans­fer any num­ber of pas­sen­gers to any lo­ca­tion, year round. If you are part of a small group con­sider jump­ing in a taxi to the vine­yard of your choice and the cost can then be shared equally. An­other travel op­tion to see more of Wai­heke Is­land is to take a Horse Tour. Wai­heke Horse Tours op­er­ate on the east­ern end of the is­land where be­sides tours you can take lessons, have a horse trek pic­nic, or you can even take a horse trek from be­tween 3-5 hours to one of two lo­cal vine­yards for lunch.

4 Dine in a Vine­yard Restau­rant:

I don’t think many peo­ple leave Wai­heke Is­land with­out hav­ing a meal or light lunch at one of the is­land’s fa­mous world-class, award-win­ning vine­yard restau­rants. The best known ones that spring to mind offering full restau­rant-style fa­cil­i­ties in­clude, Mud­brick, Ca­ble Bay, Stonyridge, Ca­sita Miro, Poderi Crisci, Te Whau, Te Motu, Goldie Wines, Miro, Pas­sage Rock and Pea­cock Sky. But if all you need is a light snack then there are five other vine­yards that of­fer a lim­ited menu that will at least tempt you to enjoy their wine tast­ings, and th­ese in­clude, Wild on Wai­heke with a menu of plat­ters, pizza and burg­ers which also go well with their on-site brewed Barona beer, Man ‘O War Vine­yard also of­fer plat­ters, Kennedy Point Vine­yard serve de­li­cious lo­cal oys­ters, Kiwi cheeses and smoked salmon or visit French­man’s Hill Es­tate to sam­ple their su­perb wines ac­com­pa­nied by a de­li­cious home­made “Plat Du Jour”. At The Batch Win­ery you can re­lax and soak up the views with vin­tage

dishes, such as high tea and Bub­bles or ba­con and egg pic­nic pie fol­lowed by sea­sonal fruit and An­zac crum­ble in win­ter or in sum­mer, smashed rasp­berry pavlova. The Batch also of­fer a cour­tesy shut­tle bus to/from the Ex­plore Ferry ev­ery hour.

5 On the Wa­ter – Take a Fish­ing Char­ter or Hire a Kayak:

Vis­it­ing Wai­heke shouldn’t be all about land-based ad­ven­tures. One of the best ways to see Wai­heke is ei­ther on a guided kayak tour or by rent­ing a sin­gle or dou­ble kayak to ven­ture around the bays near­est to the Ma­ti­a­tia ferry ter­mi­nal. Ross Kayak Rentals have a va­ri­ety of sin­gle and dou­ble kayaks, both light­weight kevlar and plas­tic kayaks, as well as day boats and ex­pe­di­tion dou­bles. Th­ese can be hired for a min­i­mum of two peo­ple for safety rea­sons. They are avail­able to those with sea kayak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence only. Hire rates are de­pen­dent on your trip plan. Their guided trips are rec­om­mended for first time pad­dlers and all those peo­ple who value the ad­di­tional insight of an ex­pe­ri­enced guide to ex­plore Wai­heke’s coast­line. There are a num­ber of fish­ing char­ter boats on Wai­heke where the snap­per are plen­ti­ful. Whether you are a keen fish­er­man, or a novice, young or old, ex­pe­ri­ence the fun and ex­cite­ment of fish­ing on Wai­heke in a Fyran 580, with Phil Scott, your skip­per of Ad­ven­ture Fish­ing Char­ters. His Wai­heke fish­ing trips leave from Ma­ti­a­tia Bay and last ap­prox­i­mately four hours in ei­ther early morn­ing or af­ter­noon. An­other rel­a­tively new op­er­a­tor is FQ Fish­ing Char­ters who of­fer half day, full day or overnight op­tions with des­ti­na­tions in­clud­ing Wai­heke Is­land, Great Bar­rier Is­land, Lit­tle Bar­rier, Mokahinau Is­lands, Cu­vier Is­land and Coro­man­del in their 10.2 me­tre SSM sur­veyed ves­sel, cus­tom built and fit­ted out to the high­est spec­i­fi­ca­tions to make your fish­ing char­ter ad­ven­ture and dis­cov­ery cruise com­fort­able and un­for­get­table.

6 Enjoy an Eco Zip Ad­ven­ture or a Seg­way Tour:

Eco Zip Ad­ven­tures of­fers state-ofthe-art fly­ing fox ziplines and an eco-im­mer­sive for­est walk on breath­tak­ing Wai­heke Is­land, for na­ture lovers of all ages. You’ll enjoy the full Wai­heke ex­pe­ri­ence with a com­pli­men­tary pick up from an is­land ferry and re­turn­ing you to your pick-up point or one of the many vine­yards, restau­rants, beaches or vil­lages. Book­ing this ad­ven­ture will in­clude a Wai­heke

high­lights tour, fea­tur­ing many of the is­land’s golden beaches, its charm­ing olive groves, world-class vine­yards and multi-mil­lion dol­lar prop­er­ties. The ex­pe­ri­ence of­fers three unique ziplines, each 200 m long, with dual ca­bles al­low­ing you to fly side-by-side with a friend, making this an ex­cep­tional, shared ex­pe­ri­ence. Af­ter­wards enjoy an easy, 1.4 km guided na­ture walk, ex­plor­ing pris­tine, pre-Euro­pean na­tive for­est.

An­other is­land ex­pe­ri­ence that is rel­a­tively new is SegWai Jour­neys who have de­vised two spe­cial tours: View to a View and Bay to Beach that are per­son­alised tours on Seg­way ve­hi­cles, qui­etly glid­ing you and your group through na­tive bush­land, wet­lands, vine­yards and beach en­vi­ron­ments to really ex­pe­ri­ence parts of Wai­heke Is­land that only the lo­cals know about. They can also ar­range cor­po­rate team build­ing tours for any spe­cial event your com­pany may be plan­ning.

7 Visit some of the Is­land’s Best Beaches:

Pack up the fam­ily and a pic­nic and take a day off to visit Wai­heke Is­land’s most beau­ti­ful beaches. The best-known ones for swim­ming in­clude Oneroa Beach (be­low the is­land’s main vil­lage and close to the ferry ter­mi­nal) and Lit­tle Oneroa Beach, Palm Beach, and the small, lit­tle-known Sandy Bay and En­clo­sure Bay as well as the al­ways pop­u­lar One­tangi Beach, where the two best beach bars, 4th Street Bar and Grill and Charley Far­leys are lo­cated. If you enjoy camp­ing head to the is­land’s only camp­ground at Whakanewha Re­gional Park where there is the beau­ti­ful sel­dom trod­den Whakanewha Bay shin­gle beach wait­ing to be ex­plored along with some lovely walk­ing tracks nearby.

8 Dine and Shop in Oneroa:

The is­land’s main vil­lage, Oneroa, is de­light­ful and full of char­ac­ter and home to a va­ri­ety of restau­rants such as Vino Vino, Café Fenice, De­light Turk­ish Café, Ajadz In­dian Restau­rant, Oneroa Beach Club, Wai Kitchen and Lit­tle Wai, So­lar Eat­ing House, The Red Crab Thai Restau­rant, The Lo­cal (fish & chips and burg­ers), Cove Bites & Brews, Sand­bar which stays open very late, and the renowned Oys­ter Inn. There are also a num­ber of shops re­tail­ing food, wine, arts, crafts, and cloth­ing as well as Wai­heke Ki­wiana such as Shop on the Rocks, Tivoli Book­sellers, Take Note, Toi Gallery, Vic­to­rian Gilt, Glow­ing Sky Cloth­ing, Body & Soles, Wai­heke Flower Shop, Salt Cloth­ing & jew­elry, 1st Stop Liquor, Wai­heke Wine Cen­tre, Chances Surf NZ, Christine the Artist Gold­smith, Walk­ing Life, The Ve­randa, Is­land De­signs, E-Cy­cle Hire, Oneroa Chemist, Wai­heke Fruit and Veg, and the Oneroa Four Square.

9 Hike the Is­land’s Coastal Trails:

Wai­heke’s coast­line boasts many beau­ti­ful walks with stun­ning views over splen­did beaches, farm­land, na­tive bush, picturesque vine­yards, charm­ing vil­lages, lo­cal re­serves and

across to the sur­round­ing is­lands and the Coro­man­del. Dis­cover and ex­plore his­toric sites and many un­seen view­points along the many scenic walk­ways. There are eight well-sign­posted walk­ways, two of which start right at the ferry ter­mi­nal - just fol­low the coast left or right as you leave the wharf and keep to the yel­low and green sign­posts. Take plenty of wa­ter, a hat, sun screen and sturdy walk­ing shoes (some of the hik­ing trails are quite rugged).

10 At­tend an Is­land Fes­ti­val or Spe­cial Event:

One of the main­stays of Wai­heke Is­land is the num­ber of fes­ti­vals that are or­gan­ised each year, some ap­peal­ing to all walks of life and oth­ers that are more spe­cific.

The bi-an­nual head­land “Sculp­ture on the Gulf” at­tracts tens of thou­sands of visi­tors and rightly holds the top spot. Other well-known events in­clude (in March): the Wai­heke Is­land of Wine Vin­tage Fes­ti­val, and Jazz & Blues in the Vines, (April): the Wai­heke In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val, (May/June): the Wai­heke Win­ter Arts Fes­ti­val, (Oc­to­ber): Wai­heke Book Fes­ti­val, (Novem­ber): The Wai­heke Walk­ing Fes­ti­val, the Wai­heke Is­land Gar­den Sa­fari, and the bi-an­nual Wai­heke Olive Fes­ti­val…to be held next in Novem­ber 2016.

11 Cor­po­rate Events, Meet­ings, Cus­tom­ized Team Build­ing & In­cen­tives

If you are look­ing to or­gan­ise a spe­cial event or need a unique con­fer­ence or func­tion ar­rang­ing on Wai­heke Is­land then the best or­gan­is­ers to talk with are Des­ti­na­tion Wai­heke Is­land. Rob and Karen Webb have over four decades of com­bined in­ter­na­tional hos­pi­tal­ity ex­pe­ri­ence and a pas­sion­ate con­nec­tion with the is­land they call ‘home’. Des­ti­na­tion Wai­heke Is­land are the per­fect team to or­gan­ise your next con­fer­ence, meet­ing pack­age, func­tion, food and wine ex­pe­ri­ence or team ac­tiv­ity in­clud­ing trans­port and ac­com­mo­da­tion. If you have a group of be­tween 10 - 250, then let them take the has­sle out of putting it all to­gether for you, with per­fectly matched peo­ple in the re­quired field of ex­per­tise.

12 Stay Awhile on Wai­heke:

One of the lovely as­pects of Wai­heke Is­land is the large range of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions that are read­ily avail­able. Whether vis­it­ing Wai­heke for a ro­man­tic break or a long week­end vine­yard tour you’ll soon re­alise you are a world away from Auck­land. Choose from quaint B&B ac­com­mo­da­tions, bach-style cot­tages, hol­i­day homes, and Mediter­ranean-style self-ca­ter­ing apart­ments or in­dulge by lap­ping up lux­ury in one of the is­land’s premier re­sorts.

The largest ac­com­mo­da­tion provider on the is­land is Wai­heke Is­land Re­sort in Palm Beach, which has only re­cently re­opened af­ter a com­plete re­fur­bish­ment. An­other large ac­com­mo­da­tion is The Lodge, which of­fers lux­ury, self-con­tained, ac­com­mo­da­tion for 20 to 26 guests for fam­ily re­unions, wed­ding par­ties, cor­po­rate re­treats or a big chill with fam­ily and friends. Com­mand­ing spec­tac­u­lar views from its ridgetop lo­ca­tion, The Lodge pro­vides a unique blend of pri­vacy and tran­quil­lity. Hosted re­sorts are also very pop­u­lar with new­com­ers such as Marino Ridge, or an award-win­ning bou­tique lodge such as The Pah, cap­tur­ing all day sun and spec­tac­u­lar sea views, this ar­chi­tec­turally de­signed ac­com­mo­da­tion with a nod to Ba­li­nese liv­ing is spa­cious yet invit­ing, you get the feel­ing that you are hov­er­ing above the daz­zling Hau­raki Gulf. The Beach Villa Du­plex is a pre­mium hol­i­day home lo­cated in front of Oneroa Beach. This large, mod­ern ar­chi­tec­turally de­signed home can ac­com­mo­date up to 16 guests in its seven bed­rooms, and five bath­rooms. It can also be used as two sep­a­rate fully self-con­tained homes. No mat­ter what time of year you visit Wai­heke Is­land, the ma­jor jewel in Auck­land’s crown, you’ll find, a plethora of friendly lo­cals greet­ing you, su­perb white sandy beaches, lovely sea­side vil­lages, fun pubs and bars, great shops and gal­leries, ad­ven­tur­ous out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, fan­tas­tic ac­com­mo­da­tion, award-win­ning restau­rants and some of Auck­land’s finest vine­yards just wait­ing for you to knock on their cel­lar door.

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